National News, News

Whitely wins national student affairs recognition

Sixteen years ago, Vice President for Student Affairs Pat Whitely stood before a crowd in Chicago.

At the time, William Butler was accepting NASPA’s (the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) 1997 Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Performance as a dean.

Whitely remembers the day Butler received the recognition. He was already retiring, and Whitely was about to assume his position.

“He introduced me to the crowd of people and said, ‘This is who’s replacing me,’” she said. “I was thinking to myself, ‘Who knows if that’ll ever be me?’”

On March 19, at NASPA’s annual conference in Orlando, Whitely received the same recognition her predecessor had been awarded that day.

“Sixteen years later I was able to call him up and I said, ‘Dr. Butler, did you know that there’s only one university in the country that’s had two vice presidents obtain the Goodnight Award?’” she said. “And he said, ‘Darling, is that you?’”

NASPA’s Scott Goodnight Award is the highest honor that can be bestowed to a senior affairs administrator in higher education, who, according to the organization, “has demonstrated sustained professional service in student affairs work, high-level competency in administrative skills, innovative response in meeting students’ varied and emerging needs, effectiveness in developing junior staff members, and leadership in community and university affairs.”

The award is named in honor of the organization’s founding board chair. Both Butler and Whitely received the award, making the University of Miami the only school that has had two administrative members receive that distinction.

Butler expressed his sentiments about Whitely’s recognition.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her,” he said. “I was very proud to receive the same award in Chicago in 1997.”

He also expressed his feelings about her performance for the past 16 years.

“She’s done a terrific job and has more than met my expectations of being a first-rate student affairs administrator and educator,” he said.  “I’m very proud of her. I’m also proud of the university that it was possible for two vice presidents back-to-back for student affairs from the same university to receive that same award. That says something about the university.”

Nancy Ryan, executive assistant to the vice president, has worked for Butler and Whitely.

She worked for Butler for 19 years, and has worked for Whitely since she first started as VP 16 years ago.

“I’m very proud. It kind of pulls together the mission and the vision of the field of student affairs and what we do for students,” Ryan said. “Because this is a national award, this brings the focus of what’s going on in the country.”

Ryan noted that both Butler and Whitely, though distinct, have had similar goals and visions throughout their careers.

“The two of them have always had a good vision of what’s important to students and looking ahead,” Ryan said. “We’re ahead of the game. A lot of universities across the country have looked toward the University of Miami to help them when they’ve encountered different areas. It’s very rewarding. It’s challenging because you have to stay one step ahead of them, and that’s always hard to do.”

When asked about her feelings toward the award, Whitely expressed simultaneous feelings of pride and humility.

“I am incredibly humbled,” White said. “At the same, I’m proud of the award. Never in a million years would I have ever believed I would have achieved that or been honored by it. I am deeply humbled, honored, proud. There’s teamwork here at the university. There’s been a terrific team of people I’ve worked with.”

April 10, 2013

Reporters

Stephanie Parra

Editor-in-chief


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Eleven football seasons ago, after the Miami Hurricanes and FIU Panthers met at the Orange Bowl for ...

University of Miami fans no doubt are loving the Hurricanes’ two newest tight ends. What they’re pro ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ Though UM wasn’t called for a single penalty against ...

Two of the best athletes and a freshman quarterback on the No. 21 University of Miami football team ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday: ▪ The Miami Hurricanes are honoring their 1983 nation ...

Get Out The Vote, a nonpartisan initiative headed by the Division of Student Affairs and the Butler ...

University of Miami Libraries commemorates Banned Books Week with a special event and display. ...

A year after UPup’s founding father met his match, the service club is realizing its goal of becomin ...

UM students, faculty and staff commemorated the five-year anniversary of the Donna E. Shalala Studen ...

Miami’s Turnover Chain inspires copycats, but the U’s turnover prop has a ‘cool factor.’ ...

The Miami Hurricanes volleyball program won its third straight match in 3-0 fashion on Friday night ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team registered two straight-set wins Friday ...

It's been over a decade since they last met, but Miami and FIU are set to renew their crosstown ...

The University of Miami cross country team gears up to compete in its third meet of the season this ...

University of Miami Director of Athletics Blake James announced Friday a five-year contract extensio ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.